Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Pie Crust Challenge: Making Galettes


One of the challenges that I have yet to overcome is to make pie crust. I’ve always thought that this was a difficult task and I had avoided it like the plague. Most of the single-serve recipes that I have made, I've used crushed graham crackers or better yet, crushed Oreos. Through these years I have successully eluded pie crust challenge. 

peach galette
However, a couple of weeks ago, we were blessed with a crop of sweet peaches in the farmers market, and I overbought. I did not want to waste this bounty so I thought it was time to make a galette. It would be appropriate to use up the peaches this way and also learn how to make something new and fun.

I’ve seen beautiful galettes in Instagram or in the Food Network magazine and always thought they were simple yet very elegant. It also looked super easy to do.

… if you are using a pre-made pie dough.

However, after looking at the pre-made dough, I decided to make my own. I could not control the ingredients in store-bought dough, and some of the pre-made dough even contains partially hydrogenated oil or lard or ingredients that I cannot pronounce. Besides, I still have most of the ingredients at home so it would be less expensive.

peach galette slice
In my search, most of the basic pie crust recipes seem to be very similar. I decided to use the one from Williams-Sonoma since you can never go wrong with that, right? However, I had a slight variation – I had whole wheat pastry flour, and I thought this would be an appropriate place to use it.

For the filling, I thought all I needed were the peaches. These guys were picked at the peak of the season and were sweet enough that they can stand on their own. However, sugar is recommended in most recipes, so I followed. Some recipes use cornstarch, flour, or vanilla. I decided to use the one from Chef Chloe, but adjusted the sugar since my peaches were super sweet, and I usually use less sugar in my recipes anyway. The recipe below has the original proportions, but I only used half. I also did not peel my peaches.

Here's what I had... let me know what you think.


Mad Gourmet’s First Peach Galette

Ingredients

For the crust:
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp unbleached whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 3 Tbsp very cold water

For the filling:
  • 1/4 cup sugar (You can adjust for sweetness)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large peaches, pitted and sliced

Garnishes:
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Greek yogurt or whipped cream

Directions

Making the crust (by hand):
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives or your very clean hands (use gloves, if you prefer), cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas.
  3. Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together. Do not overwork (not really sure what this means, but I just kneaded it enough until it stuck together).

To make the filling:
  1. In medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
  2. Add vanilla and peaches, and toss mixture until peaches are coated.

To assemble and bake the galette
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and fan peaches (ok, I just kinda randomly put it on the crust).
  4. Fold the 1-inch border of dough over the edges of the peaches.
  5. Transfer unbaked galette to the prepared baking sheet, brush with egg.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the peaches look shriveled and crust is lightly browned.
  7. Let the galette cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Top with confectioner’s sugar or Greek yogurt.

Verdict

After making my first pie crust, I am more confident on doing these from scratch. I think the pastry flour added a yummy flakiness to the crust. A touch of confectioner's sugar and Greek yogurt really balanced out the flavors. I also like the fruit to crust ratio: it seems to be a better balance than a pie.

It was really good! We enjoyed it so much that we made another one. Actually, I found a sale on late season strawberries (Yes, I am a sucker for fruit). 

I’m looking forward to apple galettes in the winter and perhaps even savory ones too. Maybe I’ll even make a pie!

Since I love to experiment, I’d like to make a gluten-free version or a vegan one or a gluten-free vegan crust. I guess I have more research and Googling to do. I think Chef Chloe's vegan crust version is a good start.


Next big challenge: pizza dough